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ENGL 105: Valenzuela: Evaluating Sources

Evaluate What You Find by P.R.O.V.E.N. Criteria


  • Why was this created—to educate, inform, persuade, sell, entertain?
  • Do the authors, publishers, or sponsors state this purpose, or try to disguise it?  
  • Why was this information published in this particular type of source (book, article, website, blog, etc.)?
  • Who is the intended audience—the general public, students, experts? 


  • Does this answer my question(s)?
  • Does it meet my information need?


  •  Do the authors present the information thoroughly and professionally? Do they use strong, emotional, manipulative, or offensive language? 
  • Do the authors, publishers, or sponsors have a particular political, ideological, cultural, or religious point of view? Do they acknowledge this point of view, or try to disguise it? 
  • Does the source present fact or opinion? Is it biased? Does it offer multiple points of view and critique other perspectives respectfully? Does it leave out, or make fun of, important facts or perspectives? 

Is it Verified?

  • Do the authors support their information with factual evidence?
  • Do they cite or link to other sources? Can you verify the credibility of those sources? Can you find the original source of the information?
  • What do experts say about the topic? Can you verify the information in other credible sources?
  • Does the source contradict itself, include false statements, or misrepresent other sources? 

Author's Expertise

  • Is the author / creator identified?
  •  What makes the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the source authorities on the topic? Do they have related education, or personal or professional experience? Are they affiliated with an educational institution or respected organization? Is their expertise acknowledged by other authorities on the topic?
  • Do they provide an important alternative perspective? Do other sources cite this source?
  • Has the source been reviewed by an editor or through peer review? 

Is it New?

  • Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as science, technology, or current events), or could information found in older sources still be useful and valid? 
  • When was the information in the source first published or posted? Are the references/links up to date?